Frequently asked Questions

Knowing where to begin can be tricky.  We understand this and have carefully designed all of our services with our clients at the heart of everything we do.  The aim is simple - we try to make it as easy for you as possible, at every stage.  If you are thinking of a new development, whatever the scale of project, we're here to help. 

Get in touch with us today to discuss your ideas, or take a look at some of the most common FAQ's we receive below.   

Put simply, we take care of everything you need to make a planning application or building control application, whatever the size of your development. 

Our services include professional advice and guidance, the architectural design of any development or building, and then handling your planning application through the entire process. We can also assist throughout the building stages too if required, including providing construction drawings, handling your building regs application, SAP calculations, EPC certificates and the provision of tender packs so that you can ask a builder to accurately quote for and building work. 

We offer full support for all forms of planning applications, whatever the size of your building project or development. 

Our services are provided to a wide range of businesses, homeowners, self-builders and developers.  We will prepare everything that you need to make a planning application, and then deal with the local planning authority on your behalf.  In addition, if you are a landowner or property developer, we can assess the development potential of your site before you incur extensive planning costs (or even before you purchase it), or help you promote your land for development through local plan reviews where a 'call for sites' is underway.  

We act as your agent, preparing the planning application and architectural plans, plus arranging for any supporting technical information that may be required.  Then, once everything is ready to go, we will submit your application and liaise with your Local Planning Authority (the local Council) whilst it is being determined. 

Do I have to use you for architectural work?  No - we can handle all of your project or any individual part you want help with.  We have excellent in-house architectural talent in our Design Manager Matt, but if you have your own architects, we can work in partnership with them at every stage too.

What you can expect - When we receive a new enquiry, we will ask for some basic information relating to the site or building, and its current use.  We might also ask for photos to help establish precisely what land or building the enquiry relates to. We do this because detail is very important when considering planning potential.  

Quotes - Once we have the basic information needed, in most cases we can offer a free, no obligation opinion on your 'next steps' (usually sent by email with some details of what we have looked at, and what we think you could do next).  If there are different options available to you, we will explain them to you.  If we feel we have enough information we will then provide a quotation or estimate to give you an idea of the likely planning or architectural costs. 

There is no obligation or hard sell, and up to this point there will be no cost to you. We aim to provide valuable high-level advice upfront to help you decide how to proceed, whether you utilise our services or not.  

Can I get a more detailed assessment of my site before proceeding?  Yes.  Planning is very complex and scoping a project fully will generally always save you both time and money in the long run.  Therefore, for some sites, if we find that there are important issues that need to be explored in more detail before we quote, or if you simply want more in-depth advice or a site visit to discuss things further, we may recommend that we are commissioned to carry out a more detailed review (a paid-for planning appraisal) or provide you with the costs for the time associated with providing any further assistance.

You can see more on our planning appraisals service here.  

Not all sites can be developed - There is always a risk that we could identify something that is a real show-stopper, or a planning issue that could be very hard to overcome. If we consider that your project or site has little or no potential we will tell you, and explain why.  That way, if you do still want to proceed, you will be totally clear about the possible risks.  

As you will see from our many excellent reviews on Google, Facebook or Yell, our customers repeatedly highlight our honest, practical and exceptional speed of service amongst our most noted qualities.  

We pride ourselves in providing open and honest advice and as part of this we offer a free high-level opinion, based on the information you provide about your site and project, so that you can decide how to proceed before incurring any fees. 

Usually this will be sent to you by email with details of what we have looked at, and what we think you could do next.  That could be preparing a quote, or we may recommend further work is completed first.  We will always try to help with any project, but please also consider that we are a consultancy practice so if further work is advised or additional site-specific advice is requested, we will let you know our fees before agreeing any further work.

Added value and saving you money - For more extensive site appraisals or advice - both in person or on site - our professional fees will apply.

Scoping projects properly adds value.  Planning is very complex, so you should consider if assessing your project fully at the outset and by paying for a few hours of our time to advise you in detail, you could save both time and money in the long run and avoid abortive costs or risks.  

Rest assured, we will always agree any costs with you before starting work.  Alternatively, you may be able to obtain further advice from your Local Planning Authority (LPA - your council). 

In the vast majority of cases, a site visit is not necessary for providing an initial opinion or quote.   It is also simply not practical to visit every site just to provide a quote or give advice due to the high number of new enquiries that we receive every week, and also because they can come from anywhere in the UK!

We understand that the most important issue is to establish very early in the process whether your project has potential, or not, and what your options are.  Site visits are simply not needed to establish this potential most of the time, although we will normally always ask you for details of the site location, and sometimes request photos or any other information you hold that could assist us.  We will then use aerial photography, planning records and other searches to learn as much as we can about your site. 

How do you assess a site without visiting it?  In reality, checking to see if there are any constraints (such as flood risk, heritage or if it is located on protected land etc.) is much more important. Understanding these constraints, together with the local planning rules, are what will ultimately determine whether you can obtain planning permission. These are also the main issues that the planning officer will consider too.  We know this because all of our planning team have previously worked in senior officer roles at various local planning authorities.  Put simply, that's why we look at these issues first rather than head straight out to visit a site or offer advice without doing any proper analysis. 

This isn't the case every time, but we will be able to assess if a site visit would be beneficial when we provide you with our free initial advice.  Rest assured, if it is necessary to visit your site once a project is underway to check details or conduct a survey, we will always do so.    

Unfortunately, in most cases this isn't realistic.  Planning is increasingly becoming more and more complex.  There are many different issues to consider, including policies set out in Neighbourhood Plans, Local Plans, national guidance and policy, plus case law and numerous other regulations that control development.  Whether you are planning a home extension or a large residential or commercial site, any of these could affect whether you get planning permission or not.  That's why it pays to get the best advice, instead of someone just telling you what you want to hear!

As such, providing reliable and accurate advice takes time and relies on our professional knowledge and experience.  

Free advice - If you have a specific development or project in mind, please do send us details and we will provide a free, high-level opinion via email of what we consider your options to be, based on the information you provided together and some of the initial site searches that we will carry out.  If possible, we will also provide a quote too.  For some more complex projects, a site visit is sometimes essential or possibly a follow-up meeting  (we can advise if we feel it is), but as shown in the FAQ's above, most of the time a site visit is either not practical or simply not really needed at this stage.

Paid-for advice - Alternatively, if you don't have a specific development in mind and want a professional opinion of what might be possible, or perhaps a site visit to discuss things in more detail, we may recommend one of our paid-for planning appraisals or provide you with a fee for providing further assistance.

We know that some clients will question this or expect us to visit their site on request. Again, from our experience we know that it is common to find other consultants that will work that way – for example, visiting a site and discussing lots of options, producing concept plans and even getting a planning application ready to submit.  All without considering what, in planning terms, will actually be allowed! 

That approach can work, sometimes, but it will also typically lead to the most important planning matters either getting checked last, or not considered at all. For the client, this risks considerable unexpected costs later on - or even finding out that there is a genuine showstopper that we could have told them about at the start! 

Our approach is different, but we know it works. It ensures you understand the likely costs and any risks in the early stages of every project. The honest up-front advice we provide is reflected in our success rate, our repeat business with clients and in the reviews they leave us.

OUR FEES - Unfortunately there is no 'one size fits all' because we work on an exceptionally wide range of different projects - and each will typically require a totally different level of work.  For instance, not all projects will require us to undertake the architectural design (if you already have an architect or plans) and some projects may require a higher level of technical reports.  There is also a significant difference between application types, for instance between full and outline, or minor and major developments. 

We will therefore provide you with a quotation tailored to your project that will set out clearly what is covered, and the terms of our appointment. 

Our quotes may be in the form of either a 'full project' cost inclusive of everything, or cover all of the work involved in preparing and submitting an application to the local authority up to the point of validation - which is when it goes live and is passed to a planning officer.  Once an application is 'live' the level of input required from us could range from no further input - through to a wholescale redesign.  For this reason, we don't inflate our prices by expecting the worst - and only charge for the time we actually spend on your application. We will specify our hourly rate in our quotation so that you are clear how this will be charged if any further work is necessary to get it to the point of planning approval.  

Very occasionally circumstances arise that are beyond our control and may result in additional costs - such as when a previously unknown issue is identified by the local planning authority that requires further investigation, or when a third party report highlights a serious issue.  We always seek to avoid this, but if this does arise it will always be discussed with you prior to anything being instructed.

We do not limit our design fees to a number of solutions unlike most other practices. We provide fee based on a brief and we do not charge additionally for sketch schemes and minor amendments, the fee we quote is the fee you pay - unless the brief is dramatically changed by you later of course. Neither do we limit the number of design ideas or schemes; we could produce only 1 or maybe several design solutions for you to consider. We believe it is our duty to meet our client's individual needs and will explore all design avenues prior to agreeing a final solution with you. Get in touch for a quote today

Yes - in nearly all cases we do this for our clients unless they decide to deal with an application for themself. Generally, only some of the larger developers we work with choose to do this themself, most clients want us to deal with the local authority for them

Dealing with the Local Planning Authority (your local council) and handling Building Control to ensure full compliance with building regulations can be a time consuming and difficult task.  We take the hassle away from you by dealing with all statutory approvals and correspondence throughout the project - this includes preparing everything you need for a planning application or building control application, submitting it to the council or service provider and then providing you with regular updates on the progress.

Yes, of course!  We offer excellent and innovative in-house architectural design solutions and plans for all construction projects, including post-planning support to ensure full building regulation compliance and assistance with building control applications too. We offer exceptional value and will always try to beat the fees of any local practice because we simply prefer to provide this service in-house.  Feel free to ask us for a quote for any plans or drawings you need. 

Alternatively, some clients will have already appointed an architect or have someone that regularly works with them, and that’s absolutely fine too.

We are very happy to work in collaboration with any architects or architectural designer, so where an architect is already on-board, we’ll engage with them throughout and provide support on the planning side only. 

All we will need from your own architect is full copies of all plans they have produced in PDF. 

No way! We are a unique practice in every way and provide a broad range of services to a diverse mix of clients. Our team is made up of highly experienced professional consultants and between us we offer expert advice and support across a variety of development and planning services.    

As you will see from our projects page, we do the 'planning' side exceptionally well - but in addition to providing support for all forms of construction projects, preparing the planning applications and offering full design and architectural packages, we also...

  • source land and sell plots (any current plots for sale will be listed here);
  • energy efficiency - we have an in-house, qualified and accredited New Build Domestic Energy Assessor, certified by Elmhurst Energy (Cert no. EES/030949). 

    This enables us to offer our clients a reliable, accurate and professional service to support your planning application, including for EPCs, SAP calculations for Building Regulations and Energy Statements. 

  • provide detailed land and property appraisals - if you own land or are thinking of buying a site, we'll tell you its true development potential; 
  • build houses - we are a registered housebuilder and construct individual bespoke, luxury homes;
  • help you sell your land - in partnership with Mundys, we will introduce you to buyers or jointly market the site for sale;
  • work with local communities, parish councils and neighbourhood plan groups to prepare local planning policies, masterplans and development guides;
  • work directly with a range of the region's largest housebuilders, architects, local authorities and landowners as part of a multi-disciplined project team
  • provide full project support, including with building regulations and building control applications - and in some cases full turnkey solutions & more!

Whatever you have in mind, contact us today for a friendly and honest discussion about your next project.

Our development specialists are fully qualified planners, backed by a first class team of in-house architectural designers, legal and environmental experts with more than 60 years in the industry between them.  Fytche-Taylor Planning Ltd offer an unrivalled understanding of both the development and planning sectors to ensure that our services fully align with the needs of our clients and the local market conditions.  You can find out more and see our faces here!

Collectively our experience includes working in construction, planning consultancy, local authority and government bodies (including as 'Head of Planning' at a local council and at the Environment Agency), private architectural practices and for large commercial contractors.  We have therefore led many aspects of major building and architecture projects, as the designer, developer and/or contractor.

We are highly qualified in our specialist field with qualifications in Building Construction Management and hold memberships of the Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists and Chartered Institute of Building.  For our in-house architectural services, please be aware that we are not an RIBA practice or registered with the Architects Registration Board.

Planning permission (or planning consent as some describe it) is the permission required in order to be allowed to build, extend or change the use of land or buildings.

Most of the larger projects we work on, and the majority of new buildings, will require some form of planning permission.  We will help you obtain this.

The only exception is usually for minor alterations including some smaller domestic projects that sometimes do not require planning permission. There are always certain criteria that the project would have to meet in order to be constructed under 'permitted development' rights, so in all cases we strongly advise you to get more advice - a useful source of information can be found online here.  

Please be aware that householder permitted development rights may have been removed from the property for various reasons or there may be other factors, such as conservation area status, listed buildings, tree preservation orders that may need to be taken into account.  

Once submitted, it can take your Local Planning Authority between 8 and 13 weeks to issue a decision, depending on the scale of the development proposed.  More complex major developments may take longer, subject to agreement with the Planning Authority.  During this time we will keep you fully informed of progress, attend any meetings and will respond to any enquiries we receive to make the process run as smoothly as possible. 

Please contact us for a full quotation and to discuss your unique requirements - call or e-mail: 01522 581383 | [email protected]

You are not alone - planning can feel very daunting! We totally understand that you may have never been through the planning system before and might not have a clue where to start.

If this is the case, then please just give us a call or send us a quick email with your question. We will try to ensure that you receive all the help and support you need and will adjust our services to suit you.  Don’t be afraid to ask any question, about any job – and if you are still unsure then please check out the reviews people have left us on Google and Facebook to see how we helped them. 

Call us on 01522 581 383 or drop us an email at [email protected]  

After we have prepared your planning application and submitted it to your local council, it will go through the ‘validation’ stage first.  This is where the council check everything, confirm they have the correct fee and that that the paperwork and plans are in the correct format. Once validated the application documents are published online and the application is assigned to a Planning Officer, who will start to fully assess the application.

For the initial 3-5 weeks, your application will go through the public consultation phase, site notices may be put up and site visits carried out. During this time, if the Planning Officer requires further information, they will usually contact us although it is quite normal to hear nothing during these early stages.

Following these initial weeks, the Officer will continue to closely monitor your application, receiving consultation responses, answering questions raised from third parties etc.

Once the application is at a point a decision can be made, usually at around 8 weeks for most applications or 13 weeks for major developments, the Officer will write his/her report and it will then be signed off.  Following sign off, your decision will be sent out – usually to us if we have submitted it on your behalf.

If your application is called to Planning Committee, the decision will be made during the committee and is usually issued during the following few days.

Most planning applications are determined by the planning officer assigned to your application. 

A small percentage – typically around 5% of all applications – are determined by a Planning Committee. There are many different reasons why an application may be referred to committee, one of the most common is where the decision is considered to be finely balanced.

Under certain circumstances it may also be ‘called in’ by the local councillor to be considered by committee.  Rules do differ between local authorities and your council will publish its own constitution which sets out local rules for their planning committee. This can usually be found on the council’s website.

The committee is made up of elected local councillors. There is usually some form of public participation and discussion during the meeting, but ultimately the decision will be reached by a vote carried out by members of the committee only.

Yes. We understand that the road to Planning Permission does not always run smoothly. If you have previously had Planning Permission refused, or need professional representation for a forthcoming Planning Appeal, Fytche-Taylor Planning can help there too.  Please contact us for an initial consultation to discuss your options to either appeal, or resubmit an amended proposal. 

Yes - regularly!  From our office at the stunning Burton Waters in Lincoln we typically cover the counties of Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, South Yorkshire and the Humber region, as well as the closer parts of Leicestershire, Norfolk and North Yorkshire.  Any site visit costs and/or travel will be detailed when we provide a quotation to you. 

For larger projects we will travel that bit further and have recently completed works in Devon, Sussex and Kent.  For land and property appraisals, or for more straightforward planning applications, much of the work involved is usually in the form of desktop searches and research (using our client's photographs and local knowledge) and so we can pretty much cover any part of the UK - and will certainly try to assist with any project you wish to discuss. 

Handled professionally and in the right way, a suitable development solution can usually be found.  We have worked on a number of listed buildings and have extensive experience of working within conservation areas and around heritage sites. 

Often our in-house advice and experience is sufficient for the majority of projects and planning applications, however if we (or the local authority's Conservation Officer) consider a site or building to be particularly sensitive, we may need to employ the services of an historic building specialist to undertake a more detailed assessment of the proposed works, and the impact this will have on the heritage value of the land or property. If so, we will always advise you where any third-party specialist is required.  We will handle both their appointment and check their reporting as part of our own service to you, so that we remain your single point of contact throughout. 

Yes, but flood risk can be a serious issue so we will always look into this at the outset of any project. As with heritage matters, handled professionally and in the right way, a suitable development solution can often be found.  However, unlike other constraints there are simply some locations where, understandably, certain types of development will just not be allowed if the flood risk is considered to be severe.  Where we consider think this going to be the case, we will simply tell you the likely risks at the very start so that you can make an informed judgement over whether to proceed. 

In nearly all cases where flood risk is applicable to a site (and by this, we mean where flood risk is identified by the Environment Agency on their Flood Zone mapping) a Flood Risk Assessment, or FRA, will be required as part of your application.  In some circumstances, our in-house team are able to provide the FRA required for planning application purposes.  In more complex cases the local authority will require a report from a suitably qualified drainage engineer or flood consultant- again, this is all something that we can sort out on your behalf.

The Environment Agency and Town & Country Planning Association have partnered to produce an introductory video on addressing flood risk through the planning system in England. This video explains how and why planning must consider flood risk and explores different options and opportunities. You can view the video by clicking here (opens in a new window). 

Yes - we have a range of skills in-house but there are frequently projects where the input from a specialist advisor may also be necessary.  We work with a range of local businesses and independent professional, chartered consultants that cover every possible scenario and development constraint.

If a report is needed for any matter as part of your planning application, we will ensure this is carried out and will always advise you where the input from any third-party specialist is to be used.  We will handle both their appointment and check their reporting as part of our own service to you, so that we remain your single point of contact throughout.   

The additional costs for this, or any other technical report will always be presented to you at the earliest possible stage - no hidden costs will ever appear if you appoint us to work with you. 

This varies - we will use whoever offers the most efficient service on a job by job basis . 

Building Control services were fully privatised in 1997, after first being partially privatised back in 1985. This means that for over 25 years there has been no requirement to use the council for residential building control work, although that option does still exist. 

Nowadays, a significant proportion of building control services are provided by government approved, regulated private sector companies.  Some council's use these private firms too, typically because of a shortage of council officers.  We will determine who to use based on area, timescales, and who is able to provide the best quality, prompt service at the time.  Sometimes this may be the local authority, otherwise it may be a government approved, regulated provider. Either way, you will be advised who we will use if you appoint us to handle building control on your behalf.

Rest assured, whoever delivers the service still registers notices with the council as required, including on completion. With more than 50 years in construction, planning and architecture between us, you are in safe hands. 

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Fytche-Taylor Planning HQ in Burton Waters near Lincoln